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MySpace embraces data portability

Signs up Yahoo, eBay, Photobucket and Twitter for new Data Availability project

By Heather Havenstein
May 8, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - MySpace Inc. today unveiled its response to one of the most contentious issues surrounding social networking -- information portability -- with a new project that allows its users to share content from their profiles with any Web site.

The new MySpace Data Availability project is the first in a series of initiatives by the company to support data portability, allowing users to take the content they create in one network and easily add it to other sites, MySpace said. Until now, social networking sites like MySpace have favored the "walled garden" approach, where they essentially lock their users into their own site.

MySpace said that it has signed agreements with Yahoo, eBay, Photobucket and Twitter to participate in the project. Over the next several weeks, MySpace users will be able to add their MySpace data to those sites with the click of a button, noted Chris DeWolfe, CEO and co-founder of MySpace.

"We are pioneering a new way for the global community to integrate their social community experiences Webwide," DeWolfe said. "Today, MySpace no longer operates as an autonomous island on the Internet. Your personal online social profile will become your Internet address. Socially dynamic Web destinations should be portable."

Here's how the project will work: MySpace will create a central location within its site where users can manage how their content and data are made available to selected third-party sites. The system will allow users to share publicly available basic profile information, MySpace photos, MySpaceTV videos and friend networks.

Users can gain access to the partner sites by entering their MySpace username and passwords, noted Jim Benedetto, senior vice president of technology at MySpace. Users can instantaneously revoke permissions allowing third-party sites to access their data. To ensure user privacy, third-party sites will never store or cache any of the MySpace data, he added.

In the future, MySpace plans for the project to become more granular and allow its users to opt to select which site gets to see specific pieces of information, he added.

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As part of the project, MySpace is providing client and serverside tools that allow any Web site to add features so their users can automatically add their MySpace data to that third-party site, MySpace said.

When asked about the specific benefits to MySpace from the deal and if it would include advertising, DeWolfe said that the main thing MySpace gets from the deal is a "more open and social Internet."

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